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Br J Nutr. 2004 Dec;92(6):921-9.

Argan (Argania spinosa) oil lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial dysfunction in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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Departement de Chimie-Biochimie, U.F.R. des Substances Naturelles, Faculte de Medecine et de Pharmacie, Univ Mohamed V Souissi. Rabat, Morocco.


Traditionally hand-pressed argan oil, obtained from Argania spinosa seeds, is eaten raw in south-west Morocco; its rich composition of tocopherols, MUFA and PUFA make a study of its actions on risk factors for CVD, such as hypertension, interesting. The effects of 7 weeks of treatment with argan oil (10 ml/kg) on the blood pressure and endothelial function of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats were investigated. Systolic blood pressure and heart rate were measured every week by the tail-cuff method and endothelial function was assessed by carbachol (10(-8) to 10(-4) M)-induced relaxations of aortic rings and small mesenteric arteries pre-contracted with phenylephrine. Argan-oil administration reduced the mean blood pressure of SHR after the fifth week of treatment (P<0.05) and increased (P<0.01) the endothelial responses of arteries from SHR. The NO synthase inhibitor, L-N-omega-nitroarginine (3 x 10(-5) M) revealed a greater participation of NO in the relaxant effect after the treatment. When cyclooxygenase (COX) was blocked with indomethacin (10(-5) M), an involvement of COX products in the endothelium-dependent response was characterized. Enzyme immunoassay of thromboxane B2 showed a significant decrease (P<0.05) in the release of thromboxane A2 in both aorta and small mesenteric artery after argan-oil treatment of SHR. Experiments in the presence of the thromboxane A2-prostaglandin H2 receptor antagonist ICI 192,605 (10(-5) M) confirmed this result. Results after incubation with the antioxidants superoxide dismutase and catalase suggested that a decreased oxidative stress might contribute to explain the beneficial effects of argan-oil treatment.

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